The Latest AMA Friday!

AMA Friday Y'All!

In my never ending quest for transparency in the Recruitersphere, behold - my latest passion project -



Ask Me Anything Friday!

Every week I'll pick a topic and address in a quick (5-7 minute) video. Let's see how many people we can help and annoy. ;)

In today's video, I break down the ATS!

Here's the the deal - ATSs are a necessary evil and recruiters rarely have any influence over which ones we get to use / how they're built. So we do our best. As a job seeker, here are the key things to keep in mind -

Resume Parsing
This is essentially the tool pulling out information from your resume/application/LinkedIn profile/whatever and putting it into the proper form fields in the ATS. Your name goes in the "name" spot. Current employer, skills, etc. That's it. It's not intended to shred your information, or delete your resume if it doesn't like your font. I've NEVER known of an ATS that deletes resumes. I've seen profiles from 10+ years ago in databases I've worked in.

Key Word Matching/Ranking
Each ATS (and recruiter behind it) operates a little differently. Generally speaking, companies have certain compliance requirements and can only consider applicants for specific roles who meet the basic qualifications. Basic qualifications can usually be found in the job description. I pulled this example from a Recruiter posting at my previous employer -

Required/Minimum Qualifications
  • 3+ years of experience in technical talent acquisition (e.g., recruiting, sourcing), HR experience, or industry experience related to role
Additional or Preferred Qualifications
  • LinkedIn Certification
  • Preferred recruiting experience in full stack engineering disciplines; experience hiring for Devices/hardware is a plus.
  • Cleared and Govt. hiring experience preferred but not required
The only thing I'm REQUIRED to have (and which should be clear from my resume) is 3 years or more of experience. That will likely ensure a live person looks at my application. However, those additional/preferred qualifications will put me higher on the shortlist.

How Do Recruiters Use Their ATS Anyway?
That can vary widely depending on the ATS itself and of course, the recruiter. Here's how we SHOULD be using it - as our first step in sourcing / outreach. If someone has gone to the trouble of completing an application it probably means they're really interested in our company. Why would we NOT start there? It's not just about active applicants for specific roles (though that's important too). It's searching across the whole population for people who could be a GREAT fit for a given position, and for whatever reason they just haven't applied to THAT role.

What say you fearless readers? How has your experience been on either side of the dreaded ATS? Share your successes, horror stories, and yes, any robot sightings in the comments!

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